John Titi Namai – Story Train (May)

John Titi Namai is a storyteller and producer based in Nairobi, Kenya. He has spoken at our recent International CASGLU sessions.

During lockdown he created an outreach programme called Story Train. As well as sharing his experiences of the project, he will be speaking at the next Ysbrydoli / Inspire online webinar focusing on SIGANA STORYTELLING

NEWS*****Ysbrydoli Event


May 27th, 6-7.30pm

Ideal for storytellers with a basic level of performing experience

Free to attend, places limited to 15, please email to secure a place.
*donations to BtB welcome via Paypal*

What is your project?

Story Train

In response to the pandemic crisis (Covid 19) . I run a storytelling outreach program dubbed “Story train “to kids at home in lockdown in Nairobi and its environs to make them learn creative thinking   skills through stories ,dance,movement and games. Stories are core pillars of the program.

How can people get involved?

This program is fo  school aged children ages  4-16 yrs of age who have been affected by the changes of the pandemic crisis on theirs school terms and thus have been locked out and have few creative opportunities  to share in the wisdom moments of  oral  storytelling in their communities.  So far we have been able to reach over 10  communities within the informal settlements(slums) in Nairobi and the program has been able to reach out to rural communities.

If you would wish to support in kind or material support to Nairobi children to experience this program you welcome to support in kind contribution through paypal

The funds would help in facilitating to buy a face mask, snack & arts supplies for the  kids  in the session

Tell us more about yourself

John works as a storyteller, festival producer, arts educator and community organiser.

I am doing a Storytelling Orature project as storytelling is an important aspect of my group Zamaleo Act in order to preserve culture and pass stories to the next generation. I perform in schools, share traditional stories and connect those tales to curriculum by focusing on core life skills, confidence building, oral interpretation and public speaking.

Also, I am working with young Somali Community, mentoring them and encouraging them to embrace the art of storytelling through a program called ‘365 tell a tale.’ And each year I travel to share Kenyan folklores in international festivals abroad. I help in organizing the annual Sigana International Storytelling Festival to promote the art of storytelling that has gave platform to renowned story tellers world-wide. Together with the organization TICAH (Traditional indigenous culture and heritage), I  have been using storytelling to disseminate knowledge at the National Museums of Kenya and  also been behind the production of Re imagined storytelling festival – , that draws on age-old African traditions of storytelling in order to revive the art, re-imagining African  folktales to keep alive oral traditions increasingly under threat in the internet and smartphone age. The festival has shed light on the important role of folktales today as a powerful tool of examining and criticizing history. I was  also involved in the  Story, story Come! production of narratives that speak to issues that are fundamental to Africa’s development in a way that is unconventional but true to the past  traditions of oral storytelling. I  coordinate and  leading various research  projects within the continent and abroad. Recent being a lead  historian in the  @ 100 Africa story project  on social media that seeks to tell the historical excerpt  about Africa to an online audience.”

“Recently, adapting to covid-19 restrictions, I have been active hosting and organising storytelling festivals, events  online and offline”

What has been your lockdown watch online? Anything you have seen you think others should be watching?

One of the most interesting project’s I was involved in during the early stages of Lockdown.

This year a group of leading historians from across Africa have come together to form 100 Story Africa.

A collaborative project that tells the histories of their communities, countries, and continent.

The aim of the project is to tell the stories that they believe should be told, rather than those that tend to be repeated in Euro-centric textbooks, for example.

Our group includes historians and storytellers from and working in Somalia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and Botswana.

Our mission is for “African history to be told by African voices.” Every day these histories are shared via social media on Twitter @100_storyafrica. Each tweet reveals a different narrative and perspective as selected by a historian.

We’re calling on you to support our historians and this project by following us on Twitter and sharing the details of the project with your network. We would greatly value your support and would love to discuss the opportunity to collaborate with you in the future.

This is the first phase of the project but it is our intention to expand our network of contributing historians and the platforms on which we tell the stories. We would welcome your support.

Find us on Twitter:

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